Cuyahoga County arts organizations getting $3.3 million in ARPA funding
Cuyahoga County Council unanimously granted two arts organizations $1.65 million apiece in American Rescue Plan funds. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) and Assembly for the Arts will use the funds to help the creative economy, which is still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. CAC reports that organizations it works with saw a $171-million drop in revenue during the first 22 months of the pandemic.
Jeremy Johnson, CEO of Assembly for the Arts, said he hopes these county funds are a harbinger of more public investment in the arts – especially after more than two years of the pandemic. Arts advocates are also requesting ARPA support from Cleveland.
“There were literally art teachers and even [art] therapists who had to stop that work because there was concern about exposure,” he said. “We're pleased to be able to invest more in artists and nonprofits that are part of its healing culture of the arts."
“The arts also bring a sense of our social challenges and our social opportunities. So, whether it's an orchestra… a dance group… any number of arts that are drawing attention to how do we change a society to make this a stronger, better society and more equitable society? That's what the arts are about as well, ” he said.
In addition to healing through the arts, Johnson said that they can also attract and retain talent to the region – as well as enhance the quality of life.
“There's been a rash of pedestrian crashes or pedestrian fatalities,” he said. “It's great to see arts being used to create asphalt art around our city to slow and calm traffic so that people can be safer whether they're on their bikes or they're walking.”
His group will provide grants to artists and creative businesses such as live music venues and for-profit galleries. CAC will subgrant to arts nonprofits, and Ideastream Public Media receives support from CAC. Johnson said he’s expecting that they’ll be ready by next month to invite people to learn about the application process.
“We will be having in-person sessions in various neighborhoods across Cuyahoga County,” he said. “We are doing an all-out push to make sure every creative business… will understand [the] process to apply for these funds.”
More information is at AssemblyCLE.org/arpa. Previous CAC grant recipients can request a notification when funding is available.
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